Northern Illinois Huskies (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS, 3-5 O/U) vs. Toledo Rockets (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS, 5-3 O/U)
NCAAF: Thursday, November 2, 2017, Glass Bowl, Toledo, Ohio, 6 pm ET
Spread: Toledo -9.5; Over/Under: 55.5
It’s a matchup of Mid-American Conference foes from the West Division in the Buckeye State. The Northern Illinois Huskies battle the Toledo Rockets in a showdown for first place in the West Division Thursday night. Northern Illinois won its fourth straight with a 30-27 overtime win at home over Eastern Michigan last Thursday. Toledo won their fourth in a row as they dismantled Ball State 58-17 on the road last Thursday. The Rockets have a 29-14 advantage in the all-time series, including a 31-24 win on a neutral field in the last meeting on November 9, 2016.
Northern Illinois Huskies Seek to Seize Control of MAC West
Northern Illinois rallied to get the win over Eastern Michigan and set up this showdown with the Rockets. The Huskies improved to 4-0 in MAC play with the victory after rallying from 14 down to get the win. Northern Illinois was outgained 403-392 and lost the time of possession battle 31:29 to 28:31 in the contest. The Huskies did win the first down battle 18-15 but committed the game’s only turnover: they also allowed a touchdown on a blocked punt in the second quarter. Northern Illinois rallied from a 24-10 deficit with two touchdowns in the final eight minutes: after allowing a field goal in overtime, they scored a touchdown to win the game.
The Huskies are averaging 214.6 yards per game through the air (79th in the FBS) and 48th in rushing offense with 181.9 yards per contest on the ground. Northern Illinois is tied for 69th in the FBS in scoring offense with 27.9 points per game and stand tied for 16th in scoring defense as they give up 18 points per contest. Daniel Santacaterina has completed 61 of 95 passes for 642 yards with six touchdown passes and five interceptions. Ryan Graham is 15 of 38 for 190 yards with two touchdowns against one interception while rushing for 99 yards. Marcus Childers is 78 of 127 for 872 yards with nine touchdowns against one interception while adding 329 yards plus three scores on the ground. Jordan Huff leads the Huskies with 85 carries for 450 yards plus a score while Marcus Jones contributes 53 carries for 236 yards and three scores. D.J. Brown leads Northern Illinois with 32 grabs for 323 yards plus two scores. Chad Beebe (19 receptions, 296 yards, TD), Spencer Tears (29 catches, 330 yards, 4 TD) and Christian Blake (29 receptions, 335 yards, 3 TD) are secondary targets. Christian Hagan hit all 28 extra point attempts and 7 of 13 field goal attempts this season with a long of 41.
Toledo Rockets Go for Fifth Straight Win
Toledo bulldozed Ball State on the road last week to do their part to remain unbeaten in conference action. The Rockets are 4-0 in the MAC, giving the winner of this game the inside track to a berth in the MAC Championship Game. After trailing 7-3 after the opening quarter, Toledo bombed Ball State 48-10 in the middle two stanzas to put the game away. The Rockets had a massive 602-309 edge in total offense despite losing the time of possession battle by a hefty 39:01 to 20:59 margin. Both teams finished with 16 first downs in the game and Toledo had the game’s lone turnover. Big plays punctuated the day as Toledo scored four offensive touchdowns that covered at least 60 yards: they added an 87-yard punt return for a score as well.
The Rockets are flying high offensively this season as they are 23rd in the FBS in passing with 289.5 yards per game and 23rd in rushing by putting up 227.1 yards per contest. Toledo is 12th in scoring offense with an average of 40.3 points a contest and is tied for 61st in scoring defense by allowing 25.4 points per game. Logan Woodside has hit 146 of 232 passes for 2,295 yards with 19 touchdown passes against two interceptions. Three backs have seen a decent share of the workload in the ground game for Toledo: Art Thompkins is third on the team with 83 carries for 437 yards plus a score. Shakif Seymour (70 carries, 467 yards, 6 TD) and Terry Swanson (131 carries, 728 yards, eight TD) are in the mix as well. Cody Thompson is second on the team with 28 receptions for 537 yards and four scores. Diontae Johnson (36 grabs, 693 yards, 8 TD) and Jon’Vea Johnson (23 receptions, 346 yards, 3 TD) are capable secondary options. Jameson Vest has hit 33 of 35 extra points and 17 of 20 field goal attempts with a long of 49 yards.
- Huskies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games
- Rockets are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game
- Rockets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game
Northern Illinois is on a roll of late but they have been involved in some extremely tight games and had good fortune shine on them to get past Eastern Michigan. The Huskies are going to have their hands full dealing with the high octane attack of the Rockets, especially on the road. Toledo is firing on all cylinders right now and blowing teams out of the water. The Rockets, with their offensive assault and the home field advantage, come up with the win here and take control of the MAC West.
Pick: Toledo Rockets -9.5
Northern Illinois is playing their third quarterback of the season and that has taken a toll on their offensive attack. The Huskies are looking to get things on track but they’ve been relying on their defense to get by this season. If the defense can’t keep Toledo in check, it’s going to be a long night for Northern Illinois. The Rockets will look to push the tempo and force Northern Illinois to play from behind here. The winner takes command of the MAC West and has the inside track for the MAC Championship Game.
The under is 12-2 in the Huskies’ last 14 games in November, 5-1 in their last 6 games after an ATS loss, 4-1 in their last 5 Thursday games and 9-3 in their last 12 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Toledo has seen the under go 10-0-1 in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a winning road record, 9-3 in their last 12 games in November and 12-4 in their last 16 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. The teams have stayed under the total in their last five meetings: look for that trend to continue here.